Capitalizing on the Benefits of Aluminum
As easy as aluminum may be to work with, it still comes with its own set of concerns, including those related to chip control and surface finish. Fortunately, advances in grain structure consistency and mechanical properties have continued to improve this material’s machinability, allowing even more applications to take advantage of its benefits.
Check out the article, “How Metallurgical Structure Affects the Machinability of Aluminum” for a closer look at how aluminum has changed in recent years. Authors David Lukasak, Ph.D., and Albert Wills, from Sapa Extrusions North America, examine the three factors that affect the machinability of aluminum and contrast the differences between the direct and indirect extrusion processes. They also detail the machinability ratings for aluminum (relating to chip characteristics) and review a series of common aluminum alloys, explaining the types of applications for which they are best suited.
This article is a handy reference for machine shops looking to enhance machinability, not only through choice of materials, but also through optimum tooling, feed rates and cutting fluids. It’s a demonstration of the industry’s ambition toward consistent grain structure, tighter dimensions and higher mechanical properties.